Legalisation history in the Czech Republic (What has happened so far?)
March: Pharmacies’ stock started including medical cannabis produced in Czechia, not only abroad.
August: A new research centre focused on the cultivation of medical cannabis was established in Meclov in the Domažlice region in collaboration with the Crop Production Department of the Czech Agricultural University.
April: Patients in the St Anne’s University Hospital in Brno can use vaporisers to inhale cannabis.
August: Jarmila Vedralová, a repressive policy proponent, was appointed the new National Drug Coordinator.
November: A group of MPs tabled a proposal for home-growing legislation. MPs received the proposal as File 331.
December: The government issued an unfavourable opinion on the home-growing proposal.
An amendment of the Medicines Act, introducing an obligation for insurance companies to pay for patients’ medical cannabis in part, passed through the Chamber of Deputies, Senate, and Presidential Office.
January: Patients get a right to have 90 % of the price of medical cannabis paid from health insurance up to 30 g per month.
May: The government presented its proposal on the Act on Addictive Substances to the Chamber of Deputies. MPs received the proposal as File 864.
May: The Chamber of Deputies supported a proposal by Pirate MP Tomáš Vymazal to merge the debate of two amendments of the Act on Addictive Substances. The Ministry of Health’s amendment (file no. 864) focuses on a better availability of medical cannabis. At the same time, Tomáš Vymazal’s proposal regulates the holding of cannabis for personal use (file no. 331).
June: After four years, the Regional Court finally acquitted Leopold Svatý on all charges of spreading toxicomania by allegedly exceeding the THC limit in an exhibit seized at the Konopex expo.
September: Addictologist and cannabis healer Dušan Dvořák was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison for repeatedly cultivating plants which allegedly exceeded the THC limit. Soon after, the sentence was extended by eight more months for threatening the judges.
October: The Legalizace journal had its tenth anniversary.
November: The Annual report on the drug situation in the Czech Republic stated that tobacco had caused 18,000 deaths in 2019, alcohol caused 6,000, and illegal drugs were responsible for less than 500. SocietaI costs: 3.3 to 4.1 billion EUR for tobacco, 2.3 billion EUR for alcohol, 650 million EUR for gambling, and 290 million EUR for illegal drugs.
December: After an appeal to the Supreme Court, the American David Hodges was acquitted in the case of his medicines seized at the Cannafest expo.
December: The first cannabis patient was allowed to continue his treatment in prison (Rapotice).
January: The Parliament rejects the home-growing proposal when discussing the amendments to the Addictive Substances Act (file no. 331)
May: Robert Veverka, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Legalizace journal, and the publishing company face charges on the misdemeanour of spreading toxicomania.
June: The Chamber of Deputies adopted the government proposal of the amendment to the Act on Addictive Substances (file no. 864) related to industrial hemp and medical cannabis in the third reading. A breakthrough amendment increased the THC limit for industrial hemp from 0.3 % to 1 %. The proposal by MP Tomáš Vymazal to abolish criminal sanctions for home-growing a few plants for personal use was not passed into the amendment text.
July: The Senate returned the government proposal with amendments to the Chamber of Deputies (resolution no. 275).
September: The Chamber of Deputies confirmed its original text presented to the Senate.
September: The President of the Czech Republic signed the Act on Addictive Substances amendment.
October: After twenty years in service, Viktor Mravčík resigns from his position as director of the Czech National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addictions. His reason is his disagreement with the measures taken by National Drug Coordinator Jarmila Vedralová.
November: Robert Veverka, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Legalizace journal, and the publishing company are convicted for spreading toxicomania. Veverka is sentenced to 12 months in prison, while his company Legal Publishing s.r.o. gets a fine of 50,000 CZK in a non-res judicata judgment.
January: An amendment regulating the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes entered into force at the beginning of the year, allowing more licensed companies to cultivate and export cannabis. The amendment also increased the legal THC limit for industrial hemp and abolished the monopoly of the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL) in buying medical cannabis. However, the process was delayed because the regulatory decree had not been amended yet.
Changes introduced by the amendment of the Act on Addictive Substances relating to cannabis
- The limit for THC contents in industrial hemp was increased to 1 %. Growers will no longer need to fear criminalisation due to good weather and growing conditions.
- All safe cannabis extracts containing THC in up to 1 % of their mass are entirely exempt from the addictive substances treatment regime. As such, an ointment made of cannabis containing a balanced amount of cannabinoids will no longer be classified as a cannabis substance, even if it contains THC, and the original plant may have exceeded the 1 % limit. Since active substances are watered down in the manufacturing of the ointment, the result will be defined as an “extract” exempted from the legal definition of addictive substances.
- Farmers producing industrial hemp varieties from the common European catalogue no longer have to prove the THC contents of cannabis plants but only provide certificates of seed origins.
- Better financial and administrative availability of licences allows regular entrepreneurs to engage in producing medical cannabis. Export abroad has also been allowed.
- Enabling mass extraction of medical cannabis will significantly broaden the spectrum of pharmaceutical forms for patients using cannabis treatments.
February: Jarmila Vedralová gave up her position as National Drug Coordinator and Director of the Drug Policy Department of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic. Jindřich Vobořil was appointed the new coordinator.